Ever since this white-haired humorist launched his showbiz career in the late '60, his comedy style has drawn equally from sophisticated intellectualism and lowbrow clownery, and his humor has reached both the mainstream and the intelligentsia. His life as a comedian began in California's Disneyland, where he started out selling guidebooks and souvenirs before he moved on to demonstrating magic tricks and gags at a specialty shop. He began piecing together his comedy routines, learning how to juggle, perform jokes, and play the banjo, all elements that would become staples of his comedic repertoire. Though he started out as a philosophy student at college, he dropped out to pursue comedy fulltime. He picked up an Emmy for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and later showcased his sketch and stand-up skills on multiple '70s series, notably The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live. Although he was never an official SNL cast member, he frequently appeared on the late-night show, playing kooky characters like King Tut and one of two "wild and crazy" swinging Czech brothers opposite Dan Aykroyd. While his presence on TV grew and his fame widened, Martin released a succession of popular Grammy-winning comedy albums and toured the country, often filling stadiums. He stepped down from stand-up to pursue a movie career. In 1979, he headlined and cowrote the hilariously crass comedy The Jerk. Directed by friend Carl Reiner and costarring his then-girlfriend, Bernadette Peters, the hit film cast Martin as an oddly endearing dimwit who endures an extraordinary life of highs and lows. Never one to shy away from a risk, two years later he and Peters reteamed for the dark musical Pennies from Heaven, in which Martin bizarrely lip-synched to Depression-era recordings. The movie went bust, and he quickly returned to his roots, starring in three more Reiner-directed comedies, the last of which, 1984's All of Me, was a smash that proved he had what it took for the big screen. It also marked the first time he played an uptight yuppie, an archetype he would soon be called on to play again and again. A well-liked star if not always a big box-office draw, Martin had his hits (1987's Planes, Trains & Automobiles, 1989's Parenthood) and flops (1990's My Blue Heaven, 1992's Leap of Faith) but never lacked for work. He also began producing and penning many of his own vehicles, including 1987's Roxanne (his modern-day take on Cyrano de Bergerac), and the 1991 quirky romantic comedy L.A. Story, opposite his then-wife and former All of Me costar Victoria Tennant. In the '90s, writing became a focus for Martin. In addition to screenplays, he authored plays (Picasso at the Lapin Agile), witty essays for the New Yorker and novellas (Shopgirl, which was turned into a film in 2005). While his career turned literary, he still managed to find time for films, alternating between broader flicks (1999's Bowfinger) and family fare (1991's Father of the Bride, 2003's Cheaper by the Dozen, 2003's Bringing Down the House, 2006's Pink Panther). Preferring to keep busy, Martin has continued filling his schedule up recording and performing his music, writing, and acting. When not working, he spends time with his wife, writer Anne Stringfield, and pursues an avid interest in art collectio

Fast Facts

  • From ages 10 to 15, he sold guidebooks at Disneyland. At 15, he was promoted to the Merlin Magic Shop, where he worked for three years.
  • Wrote and starred in the 1977 short film The Absent-Minded Waiter, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
  • Made his New York theater debut opposite Robin Williams in a 1988 revival of Waiting for Godot, directed by Mike Nichols.
  • An accomplished banjo player who played on Earl Scruggs' Grammy-winning "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," which won for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2001.
  • A trustee of the Los Angeles Museum of Art and an avid collector who owns works by Picasso and Georgia O'Keeffe, among others.
  • In the '00s, multiple tabloids linked him with actress Kristin Davis. It turned out that he was dating New Yorker staffer Anne Stringfield, who happened to resemble the Sex and the City star.
  • Received the eighth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2005.
  • In 2007, he received a Kennedy Center Honor.
  • Published his autobiography, Born Standing Up, in 2007.
  • Released a bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (2009), which earned him a Grammy Award.
  • Co-hosted the 82nd Academy Awards with Alec Baldwin.


  • 1982, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1990, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1996, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1988, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1985, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1976, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Comedy-Variety or Music Special: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1972, Emmy — Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety or Music: Nominee
  • 2001, Grammy — Best Country Instrumental Performance: Winner
  • 1969, Emmy — Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety: Winner
  • 1979, Grammy — Best Comedy Album: Winner
  • 2013, Oscar — Honorary Award: Winner
  • 2009, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1992, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture: Winner
  • 2016, Tony — Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class Program: Nominee
  • 1993, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture: Winner
  • 2013, Grammy — Best American Roots Song: Winner
  • 2009, Grammy — Best Bluegrass Album: Winner
  • 1977, Grammy — Best Comedy Album: Winner
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee


  • Mary Lee Martin — Mother
  • Victoria Tennant — Ex-wife
  • Bernadette Peters — Ex-significant Other
  • Glenn Vernon Martin — Father
  • Melinda — Sister
  • Anne Heche — Ex-significant Other
  • Anne Stringfield — Wife


  • Attended California State University, Long Beach, California, United States; attended University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States

Next On TVSee all »


  • Birth Name: Stephen Glenn Martin
  • Birth Place: Waco, Texas, United States
  • Profession: Actor, Comedian, Author, Producer, Playwright, Screenwriter

Trending TonightSee all »

Watch This

Eliza Taylor,<em> The 100</em>
5 Things to Watch Tonight

The 100 and more